Studio Visit: Langston Allston
Studio Visit appears in Sunday editions of The News-Gazette. Here, a visit with artist Langston Allston, 21, of Urbana.
Q: Are you going to add cross-hatching to your wall drawing here at Figure One?
A: Depends on how much time I have. I'm more interested in getting all the ideas out on the wall.
Q: What are you drawing with?
A: Black Sharpie paint markers.
Q: Did you plan it out first?
A: No, it's like a freestyle drawing. It's very free flowing. I make a drawing and respond to it and have to connect everything. Sometimes I reference poses from Goya's "Disasters of War" or from paintings by Albrecht Durer.
Q: I see a few topical figures in your drawing, like the new pope.
A: Some of the images are topical but often not specific because I don't like to be didactic with my views.
Q: Is that Tupac over there?
A: Yes, that's Tupac Jesus.
Q: Have you given it a title?
A: The title is based on a true story that's in the text over there. It's sort of a play on the idea of what a true story is and how you convey a story because my idea is to get my entire world view out onto these walls. The best way I synthesize information is this way: I like to draw.
Q: How long have you been working on this?
A: When it's all over, I will have been working on it for two weeks.
Q: Will it be painted over after the show ends?
A: No, it's on paper, so I'll be able to save it. I'm not sure it will have a place to live after this, so it will probably be rolled up.
Q: You're a junior at the University of Illinois School of Art + Design, right? What's your major?
A: Painting is my major.
Q: I saw that story about you in the University Laboratory High Gargoyle. When did you graduate from Uni?
Q: When Jimmy Luu sent me your name I didn't realize you're Harold Allston's and Nancy Yeagle's son. Do they support you in your art?
A: Oh, yes. Definitely. They've always been very supportive.
Q: Do you get to eat free at The Great Impasta (owned by his parents)?
A: I do eat free at the Great Impasta. I cook there four nights a week: on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Q: Doesn't that cut into your social life?
A: It does. I just stay up late.
Q: What do you hope to do with your art?
A: That's a tough question. I'd like to find a way to continue to do work like this — large-room installations. I don't know if there's a way to get paid for that, especially in Champaign-Urbana. I'm planning to move to Seattle when I graduate and hopefully find something to do there with my art.
Q: How did you get into art in the first place?
A: I've just always been interested in art. At home, my dad had a lot of comic books when I was growing up. I've been drawing ever since I can remember, when I was little — always in ridiculous quantities. Doing this room installation was a great opportunity for me. I did a small installation like this in the Art + Design Building, but it was on a more challenging surface. It just wasn't that much fun to work on, and it's been painted over already.
Q: How did this project come about?
A: I was able to propose a project for the Figure One project space. I was accepted, so I just started working.
Editor's note: The last day for Allston's drawing at Figure One, 116 N. Walnut St., C, was April 6. He does not know if he will show the piece again in C-U in the near future. You can read his blog at plastickatana.blogspot.com.